LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - More than five years after his son's disappearance, Josh Ducket has a restraining order lifted, clearing him of allegations that he threatened to kill his missing son.
Duckett is still hopeful that he will find his son, Trenton, alive, but until Monday, he would not have been able to have custody of his son if his hope did turn out to be fact.
Weeks before Trenton disappeared, his mother, Melinda Duckett, obtained a restraining order against Josh Duckett. She showed the judge a Myspace message she claimed her husband had sent her, which read, "I am going to hunt you and your son down one day and kill both of you."
Based on that online posting, the mother convinced a judge that she and Trenton were the victims of domestic violence, but detectives later learned she faked the message.
"It wasn't actually sent by Josh. It came from Melinda's computer. We have documented fact of that," Detective Rich Giles said.
Days after Trenton disappeared in 2006, Melinda Duckett committed suicide, but despite her death, the fraudulently obtained restraining order remained in effect.
Besides ordering Josh Duckett to stay away from his son, the injunction has barred him from owning weapons to go hunting, and he was unable to pursue his dreams of working in law enforcement.
Josh Duckett has repeatedly urged the court to dismiss the restraining order, but on four separate occasions, Lake County Circuit Court Judge Michael Takac denied the requests without a hearing.
The case was reassigned to a different judge two months ago, and Monday morning, he dismissed the injunction.
For the first time in five years, the missing child's father is officially cleared of threatening his family, and if Trenton is ever found alive, Josh Duckett will be able to obtain custody.
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